Meta-hallmarks of aging and cancer

Cell Metab. 2023 Jan 3;35(1):12-35. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2022.11.001.


Both aging and cancer are characterized by a series of partially overlapping "hallmarks" that we subject here to a meta-analysis. Several hallmarks of aging (i.e., genomic instability, epigenetic alterations, chronic inflammation, and dysbiosis) are very similar to specific cancer hallmarks and hence constitute common "meta-hallmarks," while other features of aging (i.e., telomere attrition and stem cell exhaustion) act likely to suppress oncogenesis and hence can be viewed as preponderantly "antagonistic hallmarks." Disabled macroautophagy and cellular senescence are two hallmarks of aging that exert context-dependent oncosuppressive and pro-tumorigenic effects. Similarly, the equivalence or antagonism between aging-associated deregulated nutrient-sensing and cancer-relevant alterations of cellular metabolism is complex. The agonistic and antagonistic relationship between the processes that drive aging and cancer has bearings for the age-related increase and oldest age-related decrease of cancer morbidity and mortality, as well as for the therapeutic management of malignant disease in the elderly.

Keywords: aging; cancer; carcinogenesis; metabolism; oncogenesis; tumor progression.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / metabolism